What becomes of a Lease Contract in the event of the landlord’s death? Heirs in Spain.

Dear lawyer,

My mother passed away very recently. My brothers and I are named as the heirs in her Spanish Will, as yet we have not yet signed the inheritance or probate in Spain. In principle we are all in agreement regarding the contents etc and we do anticipate any problems between us regarding the inheritance. However, the property my mother owned in Denia is rented out to tenants. Is this lease contract now terminated following her death? Could we now rent the property out if we wished, although we have not signed the heritage papers? Lastly, could you help us in the process of inheritance in Spain? Thank you for your help.


Dear reader, thank you for your email. Before answering your enquiry, we would like to offer our condolences for the loss of your mother.

Our office can advise you regarding the whole inheritance process, and assist you in the payment of the taxes and registration of the assets in your name, etc.

Regarding the questions that you have asked, you should be aware that:

1.-The death of your mother, whom I understand was the landlord (lessor) of the property, does not in itself terminate the contract, since it is not a cause for termination, and therefore in principle the lease contract continues for the length and terms agreed. As the heirs you will take over the position of the deceased as landlord in the contract.

The death of the landlord, in this case your mother, would only finalize the lease if your mother was named as the usufructuary (having the life interests), i.e:, she had the use and enjoyment of the property but she was not the owner. If this was the case, in accordance with Article 13.2 of the Urban Lease Act (Law 29/1994), the death of the usufructuary terminates the right of usufruct, and so the lease would also be terminated.

2.- With regard to the possibility of heirs being able to rent or enter into new contracts relating to the real estate properties which form part of the estate; as long as you are not considering renouncing the inheritance, you could sign contracts in your capacity as heirs. It doesn’t matter that you have not yet formally inherited the property, nor signed the corresponding acceptance of the inheritance before a Spanish public notary, or where appropriate, in a private document.

In the case you mentioned, if there is a lease contract in place, as we have said, it will continue in force, but if the contract is over or if you reach an agreement with the lessee (tenant) for its termination, you could sign new contracts with other tenants, although I understand that it should be stated in said documents that you are signing in your capacity as heir.

If you need help with a lease or an inheritance in Spain, contact us and we will help you.


The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.


Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

Spanish solicitor -barrister.

Alicante, Denia, Costa Blanca Marina Alta

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